U.S. announces $578M in assistance to tackle irregular migration, create lawful pathways

Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled $578 million for Western Hemisphere partners to improve conditions that cause irregular migration. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled $578 million for Western Hemisphere partners to improve conditions that cause irregular migration. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

May 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced an additional $578 million in humanitarian, development and economic assistance for countries in the Western Hemisphere as part of the Biden administration's efforts to tackle irregular migration.

The United States' top diplomat unveiled the funds Tuesday in Guatemala where he led a delegation to a ministerial meeting of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, a multi-country agreement aimed at combating migration and forced displacement.


Until recently, the Biden administration has confronted criticism over its handling of the southern border during its tenure in the White House. The Los Angeles Declaration was made two years ago by nearly two dozen countries vowing to promote coordinated action targeting the root cases of migration, supporting integration of migrants to stabilize the situation, expanding lawful pathways of migration and strengthening humane enforcement.

"The L.A. Declaration recognized that irregular migration affects each of our countries ... and that each of us has a responsibility to help address it -- and to do it together," Blinken said Tuesday at Guatemala City's National Palace of Culture.

"Since then, together, we have partnered to transform our hemisphere's approach to this truly historic challenge."

According to the State Department, there are more than 22 million people are displaced across the region, including 7.7 million Venezuelans.

Of the funds announced Tuesday, nearly $459 million has been earmarked for additional humanitarian assistance for refugees, vulnerable migrants and displaced persona across the hemisphere.

The State Department said the assistance is to be provided through international organization partners to support the most vulnerable refugees and migrants. It will help host communities with emergency shelter, food assistance, water, sanitation, hygiene supplies and healthcare and education, as well as support for livelihoods and assisted voluntary returns, among other needs.

It will also aid governments build and strengthen their asylum systems while expanding and increasing access to lawful pathways as alternatives to irregular migration and provide support and protection to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons and vulnerable migrants.

"President [Joe] Biden is committed to further building our partnership under the Los Angeles Declaration. This includes stepping up our shared ownership of the declaration -- including by putting in place a formal coordinating body with a secretariat," Blinken said. "This support will help sustain our efforts to put the declaration's principles into action."


Blinken said Tuesday that at "the core" of their efforts is the message that those seeking to migrant should take lawful pathways instead of perilous journeys north, and that the United States will continue to find solutions to challenges all nations face from irregular migration and displacement.

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